Nickelodeon: 5 Strict Rules Actors Have to Follow

Being a Nickelodeon actor might seem like a lot of fun. But at the end of the day, it’s a job! The actors in your favorite Nickelodeon shows and movies have to obey certain rules. Here are five of the strictest.

Nickelodeon actors Jennette McCurdy and Ariana Grande on stage at the Kids' Choice Awards
Jennette McCurdy & Ariana Grande | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Nickelodeon actors need to have a clean image and act as role models

As a children’s television network, all of the stars on Nickelodeon have to maintain a clean image. As such, tattoos and body piercings are unfavorable. Plus, Nickelodeon stars have to avoid arrest and scandals — something these stars often struggle with as they grow into adults

Not only do Nickelodeon stars have to have a clean image, but they often have to maintain that image as they get older. Like Sam & Cat star Jennette McCurdy, some actors say they don’t want to be role models. 

“With the growing I’ve done, I realize that to attempt to live up to the idea of being a role model is to set myself up for foregone failure,” the actor shared on Reddit. “Sure, I’ve made some mistakes, but even if I hadn’t, people would have found invisible ones. This world is one seemingly most keen on judgment and negativity, despite all the hearts and smiley emoticons.”

Nickelodeon stars don’t have control over their physical appearance or what happens to their role

Actors in Nickelodeon shows and movies are expected to look a certain way, which means they can’t make major changes to their physical appearance while working with the network. Such changes include dying their hair or having it cut while working on a project. 

Nickelodeon actors are also expected to maintain a certain weight during their time working on a role. Sometimes, this leads to disordered eating, as it did for McCurdy.

“I quickly learned that remaining physically small for my age meant I had a better chance of booking more roles,” she wrote for the Huffington Post. When McCurdy landed a role in iCarly, the stress of the job put more pressure on her eating disorder. Today, McCurdy says she can “thankfully … open up about [her] disordered eating without titling [the] piece ‘I Threw Up Three Minutes Before I Wrote This.'”

Moreover, actors don’t have any say in how a character looks in Nickelodeon shows or movies. The directors typically have an idea of how they want the character to appear, from their hair to makeup and outfit choice. Actors also typically don’t have a say in where their role goes or what happens to their character. 

Nickelodeon shows have to be the actor’s priority 

As with most child actors, Nickelodeon stars have to put their personal lives to the side while working on a show or film. This includes their schooling, which is often done on-set between takes. Sometimes, there’s even a lack of time to study, which can put them behind academically and prevent them from graduating on time. 

Social media posts should be squeaky clean 

Nickelodeon stars have to follow strict rules about what they can and can’t post on their social media pages. This goes back to the number one rule of maintaining a positive public image. 

What’s more, Nickelodeon actors aren’t allowed to curse in their posts so they can maintain a positive public image. Additionally, they should not share any kind of suggestive photos. Their posts should always be positive and family-friendly, regardless of their feelings. 

Nickelodeon actors can’t reveal details about the show or movie they’re working on

Like any movie or TV show, Nickelodeon wants their actors to keep details and plot points a secret. If they reveal information they’re not supposed to, the actors could face legal trouble. The same goes for interviews — Nickelodeon wants their actors to stay tight-lipped and not reveal information. 

How to get help: In the U.S. call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

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